February 10, 2009
What Obama Could Learn From Reagan
I joined Walter Mondale's campaign as his issues director in June 1982, and I vividly remember the excitement that gripped most Democrats at the time. Ronald Reagan's approval rating had fallen below 40 percent, and party professionals believed that the failure of his economic plan to produce a turnaround all but guaranteed huge trouble for incumbent Republicans--political scientists predicted Republican losses of up to 50 House seats. It didn't work out that way, though: Republicans dropped a relatively modest 26 seats in the House and held steady in the Senate.
So, How'd Obama Do?
A few posts down on The Plank, Noam has a bullish take on Obama's first primetime press conference. Walter Shapiro, on the other hand, offers a far less positive review in a piece for the site. Here's the beginning of his article: Through most of his inaugural primetime press conference, Barack Obama seemed like he was channeling a particularly loquacious combination of Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and the ghost of Hubert Humphrey.
Obama's Stimulus Rope-a-dope
Barack Obama is nothing if not a master rope-a-doper. For months last year, anxious liberals pleaded with him to respond to John McCain’s lacerating attacks. And, for months, Obama soared above the fray. Then, in early September, the McCain campaign squeezed out two ludicrously dishonest ads—accusing Obama of force-feeding sex education to kindergarteners and of calling Sarah Palin a pig.
February 09, 2009
Ponnuru grills Scheiber about how the new administration has handled Howard Dean: Why do Republicans give him more love than his own party? Should Steele take a page out of the Dean playbook?
WASHINGTON--It took less than three weeks for the real Barack Obama to come into view. He turns out to be both a conciliator and a fighter.These are not contradictions in his character.
Meet the Press
With Barack Obama’s first news conference slated for tonight at 8 p.m. eastern, it is a safe bet that--like on Inauguration Day--the most over-used word in the English language Monday will be “Kennedy-esque.” There will be paeans to John Kennedy’s style and grace in the press room, as well as questions about whether Obama could ever possibly match them. But were JFK’s press conferences really that remarkable? Well, yes.
Quick Hits: Dinosaur Bonanza Edition
What a solid 45 minutes of clicking around the Internet hath wrought: * Joe Romm explains why new National Security Advisor James Jones simply isn't going to be the guy formulating energy and climate policy, despite recent rumors that he's interested in augmenting his portfolio. Seriously. Jones already has two wars to juggle. How many hours in his day do people really think he's going to devote to, say, global climate talks? * Yes, yes, Obama's assembled a hyper-aggressive climate squad. Steven Chu. Carol Browner. John Holmgren. These folks want drastic action, and fast.
TNR senior editor Noam Scheiber and National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru set the record straight about what Michael Steele's appointment means for the GOP: Will he guide the party on a more moderate course? Ponnuru grills Scheiber about how the new administration has handled Howard Dean: Why do Republicans give him more love than his own party? Should Steele take a page out of the Dean playbook? --Ben Eisler
Today At Tnr (february 9, 2009)
Washington Diarist: On The Vast Emptiness--Or Worse--Of Obama's Incessant E-mails. by Leon Wieseltier What Were JFK's Fabled Press Conferences Really Like? by Walter Shapiro The View From David Frum's House: An Insider's Look At A Broken Party, by Barron YoungSmith A New Administration, A New Opportunity To Deal With The Drug Problem Like Adults, by Harold Pollack Why You Should Be Worried About Deflation: Good For Bargain Hunters, TERRIBLE For America, by Joshua Rosner Sure, He's 'Post-Partisan,' But Just How Conciliatory Is Obama? by E.J.
As a witty and informative essay on the TNR home page explains, former Bush speechwriter David Frum wants very much to foster the growth of a new style of conservatism -- one that can win a "new majority" of votes in a future presidential election. Since it launched on inauguration day, Frum's new website has posted an interesting range of articles. I'm not sure if I've seen the stuff of a new majority there yet, but it's early.